The Weeknd took home two awards during the the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, but in the wake of the repeated racial injustices which have been brought to a global spotlight, the artist revealed he wasn't in a mood to bask in his accomplishments.
The artist repeated the sentiment when he accepted the award for video of the year for “Blinding Lights.”
— MTV (@MTV) August 31, 2020
As Blavity previously reported, Blake was shot seven times in the back when officer Rusten Sheskey opened fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week. Witnesses said the 29-year-old father of three was going back to his car after breaking up a fight when the officer shot him in front of his children. According to his father, Blake is now paralyzed. Protesters have taken over the streets in Kenosha since the shooting to demand justice for Blake.
Demonstrators around the country also continue to fight for Breonna Taylor, who was shot by police while sleeping in her Louisville home on March 13. As Blavity previously reported, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has been criticized for failing to arrest Sgt. Jon Mattingly and detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, who raided the home of the 26-year-old woman.
The Weeknd has been active in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for justice. According to TMZ, the singer donated $500,000 to social justice organizations in recent months. He also contributed $1 million for COVID-19 relief and $350,000 for Tik Tok's Equal Justice Initiative. In addition, the philanthropist donated $300,000 for Lebanon following the devastating blast in the country's capital, Beirut, earlier this month.
According to Def Pen, The Weeknd contributed $200,000 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, as well as $100,000 to the National Bail Out organization and $200,000 to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp. After making the contributions in June, the singer urged other artists to follow his lead.
"To my fellow respected industry partners and execs- no one profits off of Black music more than the labels and streaming services," he wrote on Twitter. "I gave yesterday and I urge you to go big and public with yours this week. It would mean the world to me and the community if you can join us."
To my fellow respected industry partners and execs- no one profits off of black music more than the labels and streaming services. I gave yesterday and I urge you to go big and public with yours this week. It would mean the world to me and the community if you can join us pic.twitter.com/tWzHMacnu5
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) June 2, 2020
Although the 2020 VMAs were held virtually this year, The Weeknd dazzled viewers with a performance from New York’s Hudson Yards. Singing from more than 1,000 feet in the air on the Manhattan skyscraper, the artist performed the hit that earned him the two awards.
The Weeknd was great at the VMAs, but was anyone else thinking "how tf is he not freaking out???" when he was dancing on the edge of a skyscraper?
— PackTheCourts???? (@jesserubens) August 31, 2020
The musician's contribution also goes beyond donations. As Blavity previously reported, The Weeknd hopped on a FaceTime call earlier this year to talk to 11-year-old Elijah Williams, who was able to virtually meet one of his favorite artists before losing his battle to cancer.
“I’m so honored to be one of your favorite artists, buddy. Thank you,” the "Blinding Lights" singer told the young man.